Americans across the country will watch on Wednesday, January 20 as Inauguration Day commences, recognizing the transition of power to a new presidential administration. Chicagoans poured into the streets in November after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ win, but that approach is not especially compatible with the city’s current winter temperatures. Instead, supporters can mark the occasion at home and stay toasty with food, drinks, and specials from local restaurants and bars.
The pandemic’s severe impact on the hospitality industry makes any occasion a good one to dinner for carryout or delivery. Below, readers will find an assortment of Inauguration Day specials from Chicago businesses.
Lakeview: Vegan coffeeshop and restaurant Fancy Plants Cafe will give away “a few hundred” of its new vegan burgers on Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 613 W. Briar Place to mark the inauguration. The cafe will be open for outdoor dining and drinking with heat lamps.
The special marks a full-circle moment for chef Kevin Schuder, who threw a potluck after the 2016 presidential election for people “to talk, to listen, to lick our wounds, and to plan ahead,” ownership writes in a Facebook post. “Now we have a cafe, and a burger, and it only makes sense to have some kind of event to celebrate getting through it.”
Lincoln Park: Modern Greek restaurant Avli Taverna will say cheers to a new administration on Wednesday with two cocktails: El Presidente (white rum, Grand Marnier, dry vermouth, grenadine) and Pelosi’s Paloma (grapefruit, tequila, lime, club soda). Both come in 12.6-ounce sealed glass flasks and contain two to three drinks. Order online via Tock.
River North: Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Italian stalwart Osteria Via Stato will mark Wednesday’s political proceedings with family meals such as chicken parmesan and slow-braised short ribs for a minimum of two people (meals start at $15.95 each). All orders must be placed before 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Call (312) 642-8450 or place an order via Tock.
Rogers Park: The team at friendly cafe Smack Dab Chicago is so excited about Inauguration Day that its planned a week of specials and discounts to ring in the new administration. Wednesday, for example, is dubbed “‘Holy Hell It’s Over’ Hump Day” with a breakfast sandwich, pastry, and coffee for $8; Thursday features a “Dirty Dozen” vegan cake doughnuts for $12. A full list of offerings is available on Facebook, and five percent of the week’s sales will go to social justice groups Rogers Park Food Not Bombs, The Love Fridge, Getting Grown Collective and FresherTogether.
West Loop: LEYE’s popular modern Mediterranean spot Aba will celebrate inauguration night with a four-course dinner special for two ($24.95 per person). It features chicken kefta kebab, spicy hummus, crispy Brussels sprouts, and pistachio cake for carryout and delivery. Orders must be placed before 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Call (773)645-1400 or place an order via Tock.
Evanston/Highland Park: Non-profit coffee shop and restaurant Curt’s Cafe proffers a handful of inauguration specials throughout the week. Options include the Prez spicy biscuit sandwich (chipotle mayo, egg, sausage patty, cheddar, jalapenos) and the Veep (tuna melt, fruit, soup). It’s available at both of Curt’s suburban locations.
Wilmette: Suburban spot Convito Cafe, a European-style restaurant and market, is offering an Italian-American Inauguration Day combo meal ($27.50 for one, $48 for two) with Chicken Parmigiana Mozzarella, baguette, salad, and pecan streusel carrot cake. Order online for carryout or curbside pickup via Toast.